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tv   Nightline  ABC  May 6, 2010 11:35pm-12:05am EDT

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. . . tonight on "nightline," december pratt housewife. an attorney and family man found strangled to death and stuffed in a closet. and police say his 90-pound wife and mother of their three children did it. tonight, this shocking outcome of this murder trial. brand warfare. millions of americans are kissing brand loyalty good-bye as retailers roll out generic everything, from paper towels and cereals to maple syrup. but how does store-made stack up? plus, roller coaster dow. nearly 1,000-point freefall in a matter of minutes leaves wall street spooked. so, what happened? could a fat finger be to blame?
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it's tonight's "sign of the times." >> announcer: from the global resources of abc news, with terry moran, martin bashir and cynthia mcfadden in new york city, this is "nightline," may 6th, 2010. >> good evening. the discovery was shocking enough. the father of three young children murdered in brutal fashion. his body found inside a closet at his own home. but what followed would be even more stunning. the investigation after initially coming up empty turned toward his wife. authorities laid out a motive that included a marriage in trouble, a dispute over their children, and a history of domestic abuse at her hands. so, did she kill her husband? andrea canning now reports. >> reporter: james cannon was described as a loving husband, a father of three young children, a respected nashville lawyer.
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one of the good guys. >> every time i saw him he was just a fun, great, fun-loving guy. >> reporter: but on the morning of june 23rd, 2008, cannon was found dead by his housekeeper, his naked body stuffed in the upstairs closet of the family home. >> his hand was the color of charcoal. >> reporter: he had been strangled with a phone cord. >> there were what appeared to be ligature marks on his neck. he had blood coming from his nostril and his mouth. >> reporter: the murder put this upscale neighborhood on edge and detectives had a mystery on their hands. >> good evening. police investigate a suspicious death in west nashville. >> james cannon was found dead in his home and now police are trying to figure out how and why he died. >> we had no idea who committed this homicide. >> reporter: who could be responsible for killing a 44-year-old loving father? >> he was all about his
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children. he was the one that was getting them up and hauf to school in the morning. >> reporter: cannon's wife kelly was the first to express her grief. >> i'm devastated about all of this. >> reporter: the cannons life was like a romance. after marrying, kelly became a housewife and devoted her life to their children. >> she welcomed me with open arms. instantly treated me like a family member. republican police immediately turned to kelly cannon for help. >> she said she had talked to her husband the night before and that he told her he felt like he was being threatened. >> reporter: it appeared someone plotted revenge on james cannon. someone with a grudge. someone who could overpower theat let irk attorney. but a trail of clues quick lly d detectives to look at kelly herself.
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the couple's rocky marmg was now the focus of the investigation. they were going through a divorce and police discovered this 911 call james made just a month before his murder. >> my wife is an addict and she is beating on the car, i have a restraining order to have her removed from the house, and she's got my baby in her arms and she is beating on the car right now. >> what is her name? >> her name is kelley cannon. she's screaming right now. don't leave, kelley. she's threatening me right now. please hurry. >> reporter: as the investigation continued, claims of drug abuse, a contentious custody dispute and domestic violence allegations emerged. but police say kelley wasn't the one being abused. they say she was the abuser. and had recently lost custody of their children. looking for answers, police interviewed kelley at her home on tape. >> you don't want to talk to me? >> i do, but i'm scared. >> reporter: she says she did go to her husband's home the night of the murder, but never saw him. she told police she got scared
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when she saw a chest of drawers knocked over, fearing there was an intruder. she says she left with the children. >> i was scared, but i was more scared for my children, to tell you the truth. i just wanted to get them to a safe place. that's all i could think about. >> reporter: when detectives asked why she didn't call police, she cited the order of protection. >> he has been threatening me with this order of protection. you know, he told me he was going to send me to jail. rrl police didn't buy it. and kelley cannon was arrested for first degree murder. she is a mother. she raised those three children until she was removed from the home. how much of a factor do you think the children played in this case? and in this crime? >> this must have come as a terrible blow to this woman. i think you get tremendous rage. >> enough to drive someone to murder? >> people feel real strong about their children, and yeah, i think you can drive them over the age, you can go crazy. >> reporter: how could a 90-pound woman, just five feet
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tall, possibly strangle her much taller, heavier husband? >> there's no way a 90-pound girl could do that much damage to a man of his size. >> reporter: and how could this nashville housewife kill the man her attorney says she was discussing a future with? a possible reconciliation? >> every piece of evidence will point to kelley cannon as the person who strangled her husband and absolutely nobody else. >> reporter: the first witness for the prosecution was the cannon's own 11-year-old son, who brought his mother to tears. forced to testify against her, he described the night she came to the house, the night his father was murdered. his face is not being shown out of concern for his age. >> she seemed nervous and, like, jumpy. >> how did that make you feel? >> it made me feel scared and, like, why was she here? i was scared because maybe she
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was trying to take us away somewhere, like, really far so our dad could never find us. >> reporter: one by one, witnesses shed light on the circumstances surrounding james cannon's death. this bartender says kelley cannon made a shocking confession to him a month before the murder. >> they were going through a divorce and if he tried to take the babies from her, that she would kill him. >> reporter: and then there was the prosecution's key evidence. this video shows kelley stealing a box of latex gloves from a pharmacy just the day before the murder. a glove was found at the scene containing both kelley's dna and her husbands. she claims she was in a herly, and stole the gloves to apply self tanner and hair dye. a bottle of bleach was discovered at the scene, yet another connection, prosecutors said, between kelley and the murder. >> it was evident to me there was a fresh bleach spot on her left pants leg. >> right here, near the knee area, you can see a
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discoloration. >> reporter: discoloration that tested positive for bleach. >> you thought that looked like a bleach stain? >> yes, ma'am. >> reporter: then, it was the defense's current. cannon's maid of honor spoke of a more gentle side. >> the kelley cannon i knew at that time was charming. she was polite. >> reporter: but the key to their defense, a forensic pathologist. >> it would take a strong person. you would have to be able to pull this ligature very tightly and hold it with a large amount of force. >> reporter: much has been made about kelley cannon's small size. at the time, she was under 100 pou pounds and described as very weak. in closing arguments, the defense said again, there is no way she could have physically killed her husband. >> but the state's theory is that she fmorphs into a perfect killing machine where she beats him, subdues him and then perfectly fashion a garrett out after a phone cord and then
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skillfully wrap it around his neck. >> it didn't require a 300-pound person. it just requires a person with determination. >> reporter: experts say it is rare for a woman to commit such a violent, physical crime, but those who do often lay in wait for the perfect opportunity. >> it's usually when they feel safest, whereodds are best, where they can accomplish what they want to accomplish. a person is asleep or intoxicated. >> reporter: the prosecution argued that cannon was asleep and intoxicated. it took the jury just one honor to find her guilty. >> guilty of first degree murder. >> reporter: at 33 she was sent to life in prison. >> she's lost everything. she's lost her husband, her children, her life. >> i'm still in belief that my daughter did not do this deed. >> i'm not sure i would kale it a victory. i think justice has been done.
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but it's still a sad day all the way around. >> reporter: and a tragic turn for the cannon's three children, who are being raised by their aunt. for "nightline," i'm andrea canning in new york. >> a family tragedy, in every sin sense of the word. and when we come back, a full-blown battle of the brands. on one side, the names you know and love. on the other, store-made stuff that can be euroyours for a lots money. compare a well equipped lexus es, to a well-equipped buick lacrosse. get inside each. and see what you find. if perfection is what you pursue, this just might change your course. meet the new class of world class.
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brand names are carefully designed to create loyalty among consumers. they tout quality, reliability, all in all, a name you can trust. but it all comes at a price. and with americans pinching every penny, the cheaper store-made stuff, it may well be a better option. so, we asked sharyn alfonsi to play the role of umpire in a battle of the brands. ♪ i'm stuck on band aid brand >> reporter: they are the jing m jing ms we know by heart. the products we know by name. from bounty, promising better paper towels to hefty, pleflexi its muscles. but now, some customers who have
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been loyal to the big name brands are banishing them, buying store brands. but is it any good? >> 70% of people who bought store brands thought the quality was quite high. that's a statement. i'm not interested in making friends because i carry a sh bottle. todd marks is an editor at consumer reports and agreed to be our guide through the grocery store. >> generics are a bi-product of the 1970s, where people were strapped for cash, the company was hard-hit. they came out with the generic products. black and white, yellow, they sa said "save." and sad to say, the quality wasn't very good. >> reporter: but mark says times have changed. stores have become more sophisticated in both producing and packaging a wide range of products. it used to be you see paper
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products, maybe sodas. we're talking about salsa, indian food. >> you're right. in the beginning, there were paper goods. toilet paper, paper plates, wraps and foils. those kind of things. the staples of every day life. over the recent years, we're seeing european dark chocolate, we're seeing salsa, barbecue sauce. we're seeing extra virgin olive oil. vinegars. very high end gourmet products, a lot of prepared foods. >> reporter: today, consumers crave cheap imitations of brand name products and stores make bigger profits by selling their own cheaper brands. so, they're pushing them. big time. >> store brand can be as reliable as name brand. >> it's rollback time. >> reporter: walmart and target just unveiled new designs for their labels and are expanding the number of their products on store shelves. for a short time, walmart even removed glad and he if i garbage
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bags from their shelves, replacing them with their own lower priced brand. making it impossible for shoppers not to notice the product or the savings. on everything from pasta sauce to anti-bacterial wipes to painkillers. but how do the store brands compare on quality? well, it depenlds. >> products like walmart's great value brand of slider bag food storage bag was as good as the national grand. so, sometimes, if there's a product worth trying at a particularly rower price point, it's worth the risk, because, again, you might find it works. >> reporter: other products that seem like a bargain may not be. >> when we did a tissue test, we found that the hands down clear-cut winner was puffs. they are fantastic. a lot of times when people buy a brand of tissue, they take two out. never do that with puffs.
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it might pay to buy the national brand. there are economies there. >> reporter: and there are some products consumers won't consider buying the store brand no matter what. >> we can test a consumer report and tell you that quality wise, fruit and frosted o's from market pantry are as good as froot loops. cereal, there is a bit of personal preference. we can tell you it's good but you may not like it. >> reporter: even with dozens of choices, store brand soda is a hard sell. >> there's two names that we associate with, you know, sodas, coke and pepsi. there are area where we think it's better, and others, we go with the brand we're familiar with. >> reporter: mark says it's okay to try the store brand. >> you want to get across to the public, it's not like -- the
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issue is an issue where you have a lot of money at stake in a particular venue. something very expensive where if you make the wrong decision, it's going to cost you dearly. that's a sweaty paum ilm issue. buying maple syrup is not a sweaty palm issue. >> reporter: and mark says, if you're not satisfied, you can return it. >> i can buy a watermelon, but because it's a blind item, i've done it many times. if i open it up, it's not sweet enough, i bring it back. >> reporter: you did that? >> i brought back peaches that were maly. i brought back pineapples that had brown spots in them. i'll do anything because -- >> reporter: and they take them? >> absolutely. >> reporter: hoping that guarantee just might encourage shoppers to choose generic over the jingle. >> plop plop fizz fizz, oh what a relief it is.
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>> reporter: for "nightline," i'm sharyn alfonsi in new york. >> brand loyalty tested to the limit. our thanks to sharyn alfonsi. when we come back, fasten your seat belt. it's a thrill ride on wall street as the market goes haywire. find out why in tonight's "sign of the times." flakes are finished with covergirl lashblast length.
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>> announcer: "nightline" continues from new york city with martin bashir. >> over the last few months, the markets have gradually built back what was lost during the prolonged recession, clichling beyond the safe haven mark of 10,000 points. and while the day began somewhat ominously with the economic
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troubles in greece, no one could predict what would happen this afternoon. and today's market mayhem is tonight's "sign of the times." it began as a bright thursday morning, the early sunshine casting an optimistic glow over wall street. but then, just after lunch, something went terribly wrong. >> all of a sudden, it went to a lot of screaming here. >> suddenly, u.s. markets tanked. >> what is going on down here? >> absolute bottom. >> reporter: by 2:42, the market was down 411 points. 2:44, the plunge was 516 points. 2:46, 707 points. and by 2:48 p.m., down 995 points. catastrophic nose dive, and the biggest intraday plunge in the history of the dow. accenture fell from $40 to one cent, and procter & gamble was off more than 35%.
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but then, the rebound. almost as quickly as it fell, back it rallied resting down for the day, but nowhere near where it was earlier in the afternoon. so, what caused the collapse? was it this? economic disarray in greece has sparked violent unrest, with the greek government enacting a series of austerity measures in order to receive billions in loans from other european countries, simply to survive. >> it was pretty amazing. and i've been here 33 years. this was an amazing day. they were dropping 20 points at a shot, the dow, one minute it's down 400, the next minute down 565. so it was really falling very fast. that's when we knew something must have been up. it was more than greece. >> reporter: but maybe it was something much closer to home. initial suspicion called to a mechanical error. >> it broke down. the machines broke down. that's what happened. procter was never at 47.
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>> like terminator. machines taking over. >> reporter: but almost as quickly, speculation turned. was this a man-made mistake? maybe a mistaken key stroke. >> nasdaq is indeed investigating potentially errors in the trading. >> reporter: an order for $16 million in shares accidentally made it $16 billion, with a b. was that what sent the market into free fall? >> you call it a fat finger trade, with all the technology, huge sell programs kicked in and that triggered other issue and so it brings us all to the question of just exactly what happens next. >> that was probably the most disturbing trading activity that anybody is ever going to see. >> a lot of horror, because there was -- we were seeing a slide off a cliff. it was a sight to behold. >> reporter: as the day's trading finally came to a close, the dow was down 347 points. >> i think this is the only time
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that we'll frl breathe a sigh of relief for a market down only 300 and change. >> reporter: and late tonight, the nasdaq and the electronic trading platform of the new york stock exchange announced they'll cancel some trades made during the period of severe volatility. although sigh of relief, perhaps, but the market lives to see another day, and trading begins in the morning. in addition to the canceled trades, the security and exchange commission is reviewing today's unusual activity, and pledged to take appropriate steps to protect investors. and when we come back, the asian markets are open, so, will the world follow wall street? but first, jimmy kimmel with what's coming up next. jimmy? >> jimmy: tonight, from "30 rock", jack mcbrayer, from the lakers, pau gasol, m
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